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back to article Samsung's Galaxy stuck in history

It seems no one will be updating the Galaxy to Android 2, annoying customers whose purchase decision was based on what it would do rather than what it could do. The Galaxy was launched in September and has been updated a couple of times since, but it seems that the handset won't be getting an upgrade to Android version 2 despite …

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Bronze badge

there must be some mistake

"or get used to Apple's policy of paying $10 per update"

since when?? Im nearly at the end of my 18month iPhone 3G contract, and have update the software many times, (including from OS2 --> OS3 shortly after the release of the 3GS) and haven't had to pay for any of them.

I think you must be thinking about the software updates for the iPod Touch. Yes the software in question is (more or less) the same, but the article was talking about Phone upgrades, was it not?

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Those 10$ Apple updates...

...only apply to non-phone devices. All iPhones have had free updates since launch.

Bad Apple! Evil Apple! Er, hang on....

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What's in the contract?

Surely the answer is simple -- if the contract says you will be given OS updates as and when then you get them, if it doesn't then you won't.

As for expecting Android to be anything other than Google's open-source-based answer to WinMo -- only the naive would think that.

Heck, I'm waiting to purchase an N900 -- but I'm not expecting any more than the device can do when I buy it without some nice people in the FOSS community working on it.

Or, to put it another way: Should people buying Vista machines in the run-up to Win7 expect a free upgrade even if they weren't told they would get one? Do people expect Dell to support an upgrade from Ubuntu 8.04 to 9.10 without a contract specifying that they will?

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WTF?

OS updates

If you buy a product within the timeframe of a new OS release, it is generally assumed you'll get the new version for free. MS made sure Win7 was available to people buying new systems that had Vista pre-installed.

And on a device like this, where upgrading the OS is not a very obvious procedure, some service should be expected.

Samsung provides upgrades to other models. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Omnia_II mentions: "The i8000 runs Windows Mobile 6.1, but Samsung will provide an upgrade to version 6.5 when Microsoft releases it." Which I hope is true, because I bought one for the missus.

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Bronze badge

@Disgruntled customer

"That[']s the whole point of buying this phone, the android system evolves so it doesn[']t date"

Surely all OSs evolve so they don't date, but that doesn't mean you get access to the latest versions.

g

In Android's case you do get access, but you don't get it nicely customised for your phone. Unless you have a winmo and know about xda-developers :)

Android on the Touch Diamond, woo!

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Coat

Stuck in an 18 month contract

Customers won't be feeling much pain now, but already Google are releasing apps that only run on 1.6 or above (e.g. Goggles and Navigation). In a few months, the majority of Android phones will be running newer versions, and Galaxy users will be left behind, with quite a few months left on their contract. Who will continue to develop apps for an old version when they can write it in the latest one?

coat - I'm off to get a NexusOne when launched.

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FAIL

That's Samsung off my phone list

I came very close to purchasing one of these. In fact it was only the difficulty in finding one SIM free that stopped me, but I'm so glad now that I didn't. This is not the only high profile phone in the last year to have such issues, just look what early N97 buyers were promised.

Phones due to their nature (easily dropped/broken, carried everywhere) are quite frequently replaced and I think manufacturers need to win trust on issues like this as way to gain customer loyalty. Apple, HTC and even Microsoft seem to understand this, I thought Nokia did (but after owning an N97 I'd never go there again), however Samsung seem to be pushing out so many generic handsets it's hard to imagine they care at all.

As a company, they seem to have embraced every mobile OS and technology available, including many of their own ("bada" etc) but appear to have no direction or commitment to anything (look at how often their own moble OS changes) and that sums up their products... and while their phones seem quite good value, it's not as if they're built to last.

Their fridges seem to have appeared on Watchdog more times than Ann Robinson.

Their LCD TVs have stupid loud on/off "music" that can't be disabled. So you wake up the kid's by turning off the TV.

..and don't get me started on the Samsung PC I had a few years back which I had to drill out the card slot screws to replace the video card. :-)

Right, that's Samsung and Nokia off my mobile choice list... who's next. :-)

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Jobs Halo

$10 iPhone updates? Shome mishtake, shurely?

For a tech writer, you are remarkably ill-informed. Either that, or you're being deliberately obtuse.

Apple have never charged for their iPhone updates. For all their perceived faults, not even the most rabid hater could accuse them of dragging their feet with regard to maintaining iPhone software support.

They may have charged iPod Touch owners a nominal fee for upgrades that add new functionality to their devices, but I believe there are laws on their side of the pond requiring that sort of thing...

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FAIL

Who is going to buy any Samsung Android phone now?

According to the O2 forums:

"Samsung UK continue to push for this but confidence on the change is low as Samsung HQ will be launching new devices on Android 2.0 in Q1."

With the reputation Samsung is going to get for refusing to update the Galaxy, what customers would actually buy a brand new Samsung Android phone next year? They shouldn't bother releasing another handset, the Android faithful users will not touch a phone which is unlikely to receive any updates.

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the flipside of customisation

this is the other side of the "manufacturers can customise the os" model - it means it's then a LOT more work for new OS versions to be adapted. However, with the possible exception of the HTC Hero's Sense UI, customers don't really CARE about whatever custom gubbins has been included in the phone, so they get hampered because of something they didn't want anyway

it'll be interesting to see how this plays out as the android handset market becomes more diverse

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Headmaster

Yes I Agree, no I Disagree

Exactly Re the 'Manufacturers can customise...' model

But I disagree that customers are not interested in things such as Custom UI Packages and signature applications, I think these are major selling points and differentiators.

Android has a really bad rep at the moment in the mainstream segment because users just dont get or understand it, and these are exactly the types of customers who the Manufacturers and Operators want on thier andriod offerings, so an Application or customisation here and there that solves some pretty suprisingly big UX issues in android or makes it really easy to do online social networking will mean better chance of a happy customer and a customer that goes to you, rather than the guy next door also try ing to palm you off with an android phone.

But as you say, then comes the absolute ballache of branching and maintaining, The work involved I think has probably been heavily underestimated and 2010-2011 will be very interesting to see how the platform changes.

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FAIL

Meh..

Just silly, it will likely lose them more sales than it gains them, nothing travels faster than bad news.

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Happy

Re : Meh.. → #

I think ( and just quoting from memory ) that the actual quote is " nothing travels faster than the speed of light - with the possible exception of bad news" - "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"

Thanks Douglas - sorely missed

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WTF?

What licence is Android?

What licence does Android use?

If GPL or similar, how is it legitimate (legally or morally) to prevent the end user tinkering with what's in the box?

Just askin', like, partly because I have a box at work which is a nice ARM-based comms engine with a Linux inside, but although the vendors provide their Linux sources, they refuse to provide the proprietary tool needed to reflash the thing, somewhat limiting its usefulness as a GPL device.

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Silver badge

GPL

You can provide all the Source and make it impossible for the user to install their own firmware. Archos, Motorola, Netgear, Dlink, Linksys and many others have been doing this for years.

Many many set-boxes and DVD players run Linux and may not have any "obvious" way to update the firmware, and if they do (serial port, On the Air, special format ISO) you usually can't install your own version. Even if you can, usually it's pointless or becomes pointless as the product becomes older.

Early adopters are Pioneers. Get arrows in Back.

GPL is a red herring as is Android being "open source" at all.

Also you can have a Binary with the distribution for the Radio part. Most DSP/Radio/RF/GSM/3G stack software is proprietary, not GPL and not Open. The Linux will communicate with that via an API or in some cases to a co-processor via I2C, parallel buffer, "serial" or even ethernet in some embedded products. There is no requirement for the whole system to be open. Android itself is a Java VM like VM running Java like "byte code".

People be better to think of Android Handsets as legally and practically more closed than Windows Mobile and more locked than iPhone. Please take no notice of the Android Source being open. The phones are not, nor intended to be.

I think in future it will be harder to apply anything other than vendor updates to an Android phone and harder to install any app not from an authorised App store.

The early Android phones are now obsolete. In many cases even if the vendor did work at producing an update (why would they?) the experience will be poor or parts not work.

No Doubt Android 3.x will orphan more Android handsets.

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FAIL

Had huge potential...

I'm glad I didn't end up getting this phone. I waited months for it to come out on O2 but eventually gave in and bought a sim free htc magic.

My gf has the galaxy and its plagued with problems, even with the latest updates.

The whole thing has been a failure of truly epic proportions.

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Indeed

I bought my Pulse on the premise that it might get an upgrade to 2.0 - are you listenting T Mobile?

Love the "Android 2.0: what to expect What's new in Google's latest" link on the right :)

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FAIL

Sod off Samsung!

Why the hell would anyone decide to buy one of the new Android 2 phones if this is the level of support? Frankly Samsung can sod off if this is the support they give the Androids they've shipped. As someone stuck on one of there bloody awful Symbian phones, I can't wait to jump ship to a phone with decent manufacturer support.

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Headmaster

Caveat emptor.

early-adopters = suckers

sucker = fool

=> (early-adopter + money ) - money = easily parted.

QED.

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Most phones use Qualcomm @ 528MHz

The vast majority of android phones use the ARM-based Qualcomm processor running at 528MHz. e.g. the HTC Hero, which is getting 2.0 in the new year (as announce by HTC months ago).

I think it will hit future sales of new samsung android handsets, as folk now know what's going to happen when the next upgrade of android arrives (every 6 months so far).

I know that I will never buy another samsung android phone, nor will I recommend others to do so.

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Happy

And that's why I bought a N900

Having been in the same position with my E90 - nothing other than bugfix releases from Nokia, and few of them - having a largely open source phone was a must.

The only big problem is the phone app itself. Maybe one day ofono will be avaialble.

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Anonymous Coward

Otherwise known as the "Nokia business model"

"buy kit on the basis of what it might be able to do in the future"

"a firmware update will be necessary before it's usable"

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Silver badge
Thumb Down

Updates

A Phone is NOT a PC

even a PC can only update a little. Try Vista on a PC shipped with XP in 2002.

Android is about Google Control and Vendor locked phones. Don't be fooled by it being Open Source or using a Linux Core. It's a Proprietary version of a Java Appliance. Less flexible and open ultimately than Symbian or Linux+Maemo. In some ways less open HW than Windows Mobile.

Your phone mostly is only going to do what it does today. Phones are built down to a price. Subsequent phone OS will assume much more RAM, Flash and CPU speed, like the era of 1992 to 2002 on PC OS. Now the PC is more mature, so my $3,500 April 2002 P4 1.8GHz Laptop with 1600x1200 screen out performs many netbooks. But the Netbooks are x5 better than my (still working) Jan 2000 PIII 450MHz laptop (oddly though the Karmic Koala runs on it slightly better than w2K, but not as well as Win98 or NT4).

Even Linux on Server, I was installing RH 6.0 on HW in 1999 that won't sensibly run any recent version of Linux.

Android is a Marketing success. Not a radical new Open Upgradeable OS (Linux + Maemo + QT might be though).

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Thumb Down

Oh boo hoo

So some drooling idiots were parted with money for some eye candy which now isn't going to have any more extra sugar added. Isn't life hard eh?

All these sorts of PDA type devices are just toys for the boys. If you need to make phone calls buy an ordinary phone. If you need to do work get a laptop or notebook at least. If you're the type of knob who buys this man-jewellery then I have a ShinySooperPhone 3 for sale. Only £1000 + VAT. Email me at suckers4us@oneborneveryday.com

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Anonymous Coward

Google need to stop vendors pulling stunts like this

If vendors keep pulling stunts like this, then the android brand will be devalued.

Fair enough, if a phone doesn't have the necessary hardware to support a new release then it can be allowed to be dropped. But this is a recent phone with a fast processor and buyers expect samsung to make the effort and port the newer android releases over, either that or allow owners to install a stock 'vanilla' version of the OS without samsungs customisations.

I have a G1 and never expected it to run version 2.0, I was going to buy a millstone, but I will be waiting for the official google phone now - my *perception* is that will have a longer support cycle.

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Hard Reg?

"Over at Hard Reg they've been looking at the latest DAB radio"

I do hope that's Reg Hardware, and not some kind of gay porn site.

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FAIL

A few mistakes

In the article.

There's the $10 iPhone one as mentioned by others.

Also there's the statement that because a version of 2.0 with no optimisations included purely for testing and ripped from the emulator in the SDK runs slowly on a G1 that a full release of 2.0 with optimisations and much more would struggle on different phones with the same basic chipset. This seems rather speculative and ignores the information in the linked-to video. Bad journalism there. Or maybe it's more of El Reg's recent "google is evil" campaign...

The only consideration would be if the Galaxy has the storage space, 2.0 is quite a lot bigger than 1.5/1.6, but I've not checked the specs closely for that.

I do think that anyone buying the Galaxy expecting it to have an upgrade to 2.0 without Samsung explicitly stating they would should have thought twice about the phone. But 1.5 isn't exactly a slacker either. I've a Hero with 1.5 and whilst I would enjoy an update to 2.0 (HTC have said they will) I'm happy with the phone as it is and knew I would be before I bought it. Little bit of thinking before purchasing goes a long way.

on the other hand I suspect Samsung have lost people who would probably have moved to another Samsung phone as a result of not looking after them. My last phone was a Samsung, had loads of problems with it including spectrum-a-like loading screens whenever the bluetooth stack was pushed too hard. Bit of a fail, no firmware updates, lost me as a customer.

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GPL

GPL 3 does offer some protection against the problem of theoretically having the right to modify your code, but not having the technical means, where GPL2 does not. I suspect that Android is probably GPL2.

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Silver badge
Linux

GPL3

Quite possible to have GPL3 in a product the end user can't upgrade.

Many embedded systems depend on proprietary 3rd party SW or IP that is not GPL. A newer version of firmware in some cases might have new IP not licensed for retrofit. (royalty per device is one reason).

I hope also the vendors have paid their GSM, CDMA & UMTS royalties (not Google's or Android's problem unless Google sells a phone).

Also a later phone may have different SOC with same ARM core at same speed or different other chips. Just because two phones have same ARM core & Clock and same current Android does not mean they can both run 2.x equally. IBM PS/2 with MCA bus and PC clones with EISA bus come to mind.

Or ASIC based and FPGA based versions of a Modem. The older low volume FPGA can actually mimic an unreleased next Gen ASIC, but the ASIC version can only do what it does today.

So there are Commercial, Political, performance and Technical reasons potentially as to why an existing product might not get an OS update (of ANY OS). GPL, GPL2, GPL3 isn't relevant.

Also the needed "upgrade" tools may include a new Flash Bootloader and DSP image, not part of Android or Linux, may or may not be covered by GPL that needs a Bed-of-nails and/or simple 5 pin JTAG.

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Silver badge

And to think...

I was looking at android phones the other day. If Samsung can't be arsed to update their firmware, even when they could, even when I'm locked into a contract to use that phone for 12, 18 or 24 months then I can't be arsed to buy one. Nice one Samsung you've saved me researching your phones any more.

It's time "smart phone" manufacturers realise they're selling an ongoing concern. These phones cost too much and there is too much complexity in there to just pump and dump it. Support the phone properly and add new functionality over time or watch as people jump ship to a competitor.

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@Caveat emptor

Agree.

BUSINESS. BUSINESS. BUSINESS

If anyone thinks companies are here for the good of their customers then they deserve to get their phone bricked 10 minutes after shouting around the office about their newly adopted google phone.

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WTF?

re "BUSINESS BUSINESS" etc

I gather it was "business. consumer".

Surprising to see the Dixons Stores Group school of management philosophy alive and kicking, notwithstanding the advent of the nineteenth century!

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FAIL

Two Pages?

Two pages to say... "Samsung not updating phone; customers disappointed."

El Editor got a Christmas Hangover still?

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Jobs Halo

coulda, shoulda..

coulda, shoulda

....bought an iPhone.

Seriously, with all the bitching Apple gets for each of their transgressions Samsung should get clobbered for this. Except not that many actually bought this device, or like it. It seems like people are putting up with these devices as some sort of ideological statement, as an anti Apple statement, or in the hope that it will get a bit more usable with future upgrades.

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Unhappy

much worse than other android-phones

I am one of those who has made the mistake of selecting the galaxy - having assumed that all phones running the OS were going to be similarly upgradable and hopefully even end-user upgradable with stock builds from google.

With HTC it seems that community enthusiasts have been able to create their own custom OS builds and install them on the phone, but this option is not trivially available for the Galaxy due to their lack of drivers - so the android SDK is unable to communicate with the Galaxy hardware (there are some hacks mentioned on internet forums regarding writing your own .inf file, but I haven't made it work yet)

Samsung's reputation has now been destroyed in my eyes (after I thought so highly of them based on the NC10) - they have sold a buggy 'beta' release of a phone, but without the expected ongoing updates (or bugfixes) that would have make such a beta-release acceptable.

An example of the un-finished state of the release is that the software supplied on the CD in the box with the Galaxy does not support the Galaxy. I would find this amusing if I hadn't fallen for it myself.

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FAIL

Sorry, but...

...limited sympathy.

Expect a phone manufacturer to fix faults? Yes.

Expect a phone manufacturer to give free upgrades that were not promised as part of the sales package? No.

Where does it say that having Android on *any* phone will get you an upgrade? A phone company doesn't have to pander to freetards who expect something for nothing. If they choose to do so, then great, that's a commercial decision that they've taken. It is by no means an obligation.

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Jobs Horns

Apple minus 3g, then inc 3g

... nuff said.

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Re: Apple minus 3g, then inc 3g

This seems like a dig at Apple but if so its so wide of the mark its difficult to follow. The differences:

1. The original iPhone can still run the latest software, updated for free. The only things that don't work are those things that require the additional hardware included in later phones. Not an unreasonable stand point.

2. Its different hardware, as is the difference between 3g and 3gs. This is nothing like the Samsung phone here.

I know that some people are irrational Apple haters, but as far as the iPhone goes they are showing the other phone manufacturers how it should be done. So much so that its now a story if a smart phone can't be updated.

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Jobs Horns

Apple iphone minus 3g, then inc 3g

... nuff said.

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Silver badge

how odd

I thought these comments were moderated, but the mod seems to have missed a duplicate here!

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FAIL

FAIL

Apple got it right. A handful of models will be easy to support and update vs. dozens and dozen of models in dozen of configurations. What a nightmare to support.

Plus, most of these Droid model have paltry amounts of memory, unlike the iPhone, so they won't have much luck updating or holding many apps for that matter. Oh yeah, Droid doesn't support memory sticks so WTF.

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Samsung and LG: Dont expect anything

As far as I can see, Samsung, and LG are just technology companies only interested in putting out products quicker than other companies in segments where there is a gap, need or want for a particular tech. they are only interested in the point of sale, afterwards they really do not seem to be interested: and it works, they are 2&3 in the Mobile market on volume but make some of the most difficult to use and annoying phones out of any other top player, but their tech specs sheets and feature lists read like a dream and their products do look good: So people buy them.

They are proper old school and dont seem to give two Lee Myung-Baks.

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Paris Hilton

Canada too.

Rogers customers in Canada are being given the same lame excuse for a lack of updates even to v 1.6. Fortunately this is the standard level of service we expect from cel companies, so no-one is too surprised.

http://www.androidincanada.ca/rogersfido/confirmed-no-android-1-6-for-rogers-htc-dreammagic/

(Paris, coz she's surely an Android. And could use an update.

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gjw
Happy

Makes me think of

the recent firmware updates for the Noia N95, N95 8GB, N82 and N51. The Finns get a lot of flack from Samsung fans, but at least they keep some of their years old NSeries phones updated.

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Gold badge
FAIL

don't rely on upgrades

2 comments..

1) all apple fanbois, at least read the article before commenting. There's an * with a comment the charge is ipod touch only. (charging for updates for it is bs too though.)

2) don't buy ANYTHING based on future updates. Even when companies have paid big bucks in monthly or yearly fees, promised updates have not always come through. Buy a product only based on what it does NOW.

It is bad for Samsung to not release this though.

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Alert

1.6

The Galaxy is actually stuck at 1.5 - Samsung won't even upgrade it to 1.6, which is a shame because 'Donut' is so much smoother than the earlier release.

Very glad I didn't get one now, thanks to the horrible delays in getting the thing launched here in Australia.

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Jobs Halo

Android's future looking bleaker by the day

I am three weeks into my 18month contract with T-Mobile on a G2 (a branded HTC Hero). It's running version 1.5 of Android, even though 1.6 has been out ages.

Developers are already writing apps for 1.6+ which I cannot use. T-Mobile are NOT the best in the world at offering OS updates to phones, so I wonder if by mid-2010 I will be using a phone that is unable to use any new applications. If that is the case then I shan't be contributing any money to the developers. I shan't be alone, and the developers will start looking at where they CAN sell their applications to ALL the users of a particular OS......iPhone.

It get's worse though - even now, I know of at least four applications that I want to buy but they don't show up in the Android Market. They DO run on 1.5, they ARE available in the UK, etc. I have had that confirmed by the developers. However they are not on MY Market, can't be found by search, barcode scans or even from direct links from the trial apps.

The developers say it's either T-Mobile or Google messing it up. T-Mobile don't even understand the problem and suggest it's Google's issue. Google doesn't even accept email questions, but claim they "monitor the forums" for issues.

Android is a fragmented mess and it's just getting worse by the day.

(St Jobs because even with it's many faults, iPhone users all get free OS updates and all the apps on the App Store work on all the iPhones out there)

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Coffee/keyboard

Not a smart decision

Samsung has alienated a key group. The geeky early adopters (like me) talk loudly about failures like this and recommend tech items to dozens of people around them. Samsung does not even have the balls to say if they are abandoning the Galaxy or not. Leaving me in the dark just means I assume the worst and peddle my Samsung phone as soon as I can find a replacement.

Of course 2.x will run on the Galaxy CPU, the basic hardware is the same as many of the HTC phones and they are porting 2.x to them. HTC's phones are not as sexy as some of the Samsung designs but I'll take functional and supported over sexy. I'll wait to see if the Nexus One looks cool, if so it'll be that or a Hero.

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Not $10

The $10 update for the iPod touch is not $10, it's $5. Try to keep up, eh? It was $20, then it was $10, now it's $5. Any guesses as to the next price point?

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